Office of Jewish Life

Gail Bretan



Welcome to the WFU Office of Jewish Life!

We look forward to having you as part of our community!



 Gail H. Bretan, Ph.D.

Director of Jewish Life
The Office of the Chaplain (Religious Life)
Wake Forest University

321 Benson University Center
PO Box 7204, Winston-Salem, NC 27109

(336) 758-4056


Mission of the Office of Jewish Life:

  • To build and support the Jewish community of WFU campus while providing safe exploration and growth spaces for experiencing and sharing the full spectrum of Jewish life and identity.

Jewish Spaces on WFU Campus:

  • Office of Jewish Life office. 321 Benson University Center.  Part of the Office of the Chaplain.
  • Hillel Lounge. Collins Residence Hall, A001, Ground Floor.
  • Kosher (dairy) Kitchen. Collins Residence Hall, A005, Ground Floor.
  • Permanent Ark and WFU Torah. Davis Chapel
  • Shared space – Chaplain’s Lounge. 10 Reynolda Hall

The Office of Jewish Life Staff Oversees/ Provides:

  • Pastoral leadership to Jewish students, staff, and faculty including opportunities for worship, prayer, mentoring, and counseling.
  • The worship, meeting, and office spaces for Jewish life at Wake Forest.
  • Resources to WFU Hillel.
  • Advocacy for the spiritual and logistical needs of Jewish students at Wake Forest.
  • Opportunities for non-Jewish students to learn about the broad Jewish traditions in their theological, pastoral, and cultural dimensions.
  • Articulation of thoughtful and engaged Jewish perspectives on global religious and political issues in public settings, particularly in times of crisis.
  • And establishes /maintains a healthy and creative relationship with Jewish institutions in the region.
  • Leadership and facilitation of workshops on various topics including introducing non-Jewish students to Judaism
  • Ways to personally pursue and cultivate intellectual inquiry within the Wake Forest community regarding Jewish faith and life.

Regular Activities and Events include:

  • Holiday programming (on campus and often in partnership with Hillel, the Jewish Student Organization on campus)
    • Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, dinners, and break-fasts on campus
    • Sukkah building and sukkot events
    • Simchat Torah – Torah dancing
    • Hanukkah menorah lighting
    • Tu B’shevat Plantings and Seders
    • Purim celebrations
    • Passover Seders, Passover food in Hillel Lounge, and coordinating Passover foods in campus dining halls
    • Yom Ha’Sshoah (Holocaust memorial)
    • Yom Ha’atma’ut (Israel Independence Day)
    • Shabbat services, celebrations, and meals
  • Daffodil Project
  • Judaism 101 informal educational offerings
  • Israel awareness and advocacy
  • Fundraising events and sponsorship opportunities
  • Publicity and social media for Jewish community
  • Jewish Life Lending Library – books and resources
  • Student Engagement Interns
  • Partnering with local temples and synagogues


For more info about Gail’s background: